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PUB and NTU scientist denounce Sterra’s misleading ad on Singapore’s tap water quality

PUB and NTU scientist challenge Sterra’s misleading ad, disputing claims of tap water contamination. A PhD student exposes the ad’s flaws, affirming Singapore’s water safety.



SINGAPORE: Singapore’s national water agency, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), along with a scientist from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have criticized the recent Facebook advertisement by local water and air purifier brand Sterra, branding it as ‘misleading’ regarding the quality of Singapore’s tap water.

The Sterra ad in question made claims about the presence of bacteria and algae in Singapore’s tap water, aiming to promote one of its water purifiers.

The ad featured a video depicting water from a tap being examined under a microscope, purportedly revealing microorganisms.

According to a report by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, PUB has expressed serious reservations about the accuracy of Sterra’s claims, emphasizing its commitment to maintaining high water quality standards.

PUB has communicated with Sterra, issuing advisories to cease such misleading advertisements and plans to issue further warnings in response to this incident.

In a statement on its Facebook page dated 7 February, PUB refuted Sterra’s assertions, asserting that Singapore’s tap water is entirely safe and meets stringent regulatory standards.

“Our comprehensive and rigorous water quality monitoring programme from “Source to Tap” ensures that our tap water complies with the Environmental Public Health (Water Suitable for Drinking) (No.2) Regulations 2019 and is well within the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality,” the post read.

“There is no need for any point-of-use water treatment or filtering devices,” it added.

Moreover, Sterra’s ad was criticized by Clarence Sim, a PhD student at the Genomics and Ecology of EuKaryotes (GEEK) Lab at Nanyang Technological University’s Asian School of the Environment, who denounced the company’s claims as unethical.

Sim clarified on his Instagram page (1 Feb) that the microorganisms depicted in Sterra’s video likely originated from a pond, not Singapore’s tap water.

He called out Sterra for being unethical in its advertising.

“Yall stop scaring Singaporeans that the tap water is that nasty.

Just to be clear, Singapore’s tap water is safe for consumption and you will not find these protists,” he said in the post caption.

Sim then identified the microorganisms displayed in Sterra’s footage as diatom shells and leaf debris commonly found in pond samples, not tap water.

He corrected Sterra’s mislabeling of “bacteria” as algal cells and identified other organisms as unicellular ciliates, typically found in aquatic and soil environments.

Sim also criticized Sterra for using information it does not fully comprehend in its advertisements.

To further debunk Sterra’s claims, Sim posted a video on 2 February, showing himself examining a sample of Singapore’s tap water under his microscope, revealing no signs of contamination or microorganisms as suggested by Sterra’s ad.

Despite the rebuttal from PUB, some netizens chimed in, stating that possible containment might not be from the source but aging piping and water tanks.

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it’s not 100 percent. it got worse when they decided to add “Nu Water” to it. many studies in the past have shown that recycled drinking water increased bacteria growth and incidences of IBS(people shit their pants).

IIRC they also admit they found lots of bacteria still lurking around in the Nu Water, but decided it was safe enough when they dilate with “normal” treated water.

“unethical.” so what he say is true but gahmen GLC thin skin must hire an NTU “scholar” to complain for them?

anyways totally pure water with nothing else innit is not really safe to drink either. not over a long period. pure water will corrode your throat and skin over time. stick to mineral or slightly salted water for better tasting water with minimal side effects.for washing, sure go use pond water to wash stuff as long as it’s not muddy or someone pour industrial waste into it.

Just a PUB stunt to make us feel good about the increase in water pricing. This also again shows NO COORDINATION between the various gov agencies – effectiveness (good quality water) is one thing, efficiency (cost of producing that quality water) is another thing.

Our water quality was mandated possible by the previous generations. Now the current Kayu administration continues to milk such previous achievements is such sign of being unable to achieve anything better to justify their million$ salary. Free Riders, indeed.

I drink oxygenated water and don’t see a doctor. All our bodies are different so to say that the water is safe for all may be incorrect.

Aiyah !!!, … PUB and NTU should have taken a page out of BullyBoyShamu’s tenancy agreement, … and made direct comparisons with another country water quality, and state that SillyPore’s tap water is the “bestest” in Asia or whatever lor !!!

Job done, … and the nation will all, as a consequence, agree that the red dot’s water is the cleanest and purest, … and being a tenant is no great shame, even if your name’s not on the agreement !!!